I love music and theatre. What could be more magical than seeing a musical under the stars? For the past 75 years, Theatre Under the Stars has brought works of musical theatre to the crown jewel of Vancouver -- Stanley Park. More than just a night at the theatre, Theatre Under The Stars has amazing scenery, a beautiful outdoor setting (which I love!) and a nice community feel.
Recently, I spoke with Shel Piercy, the Director of this year's Theatre Under The Stars performances, Hairspray and Oliver! Shel shared with me the top ten reasons why Theatre Under The Stars is cool.
1. Two words: Stanley Park.
We're located in the heart of Stanley Park -- Vancouver's crown jewel -- largely regarded as one of the world's most picturesque park spaces, celebrated by both locals and tourists.
2. We're a long-standing Vancouver theatre tradition.
In 1940, a group of like-minded theatre performers got together to produce the very first TUTS performance on the Malkin Bowl stage in Stanley Park. Today, our shows delight both locals and visitors to the area with outstanding musical theatre performances.
3. Audience members can experience not one, but two standout Broadway musicals.
Each summer, TUTS presents two musical theatre productions that run on alternating evenings. This year we're featuring Oliver! The Musical and Hairspray -- The Broadway Musical.
Based on the iconic novel from Charles Dickens, join us as we go back in time to the 1840s, as we follow Oliver on a dramatic adventure through the underbelly of Victorian London. Or, journey to sweltering 1960s Baltimore where loveable, larger-than-life heroine Tracy Turnblad has one plucky dream: to dance on the local TV program, The Corny Collins Show.
4. We're so much more than just theatre.
Combining setting, scenery, concessions, and quality art, a night out at TUTS is one to remember.
This year, we're taking things one-step further, and transforming the Malkin Bowl into an 1840s Village Country Fair prior to performances of Oliver!. Audiences can enjoy and partake in activities including a Punch & Judy show, foot races, sing-a-longs, and more.
5. We perform in one of Vancouver's most iconic venues.
Originally built in 1934, the Malkin Bowl is our home sweet home. Unknown to most, the backstage walls of the Malkin Bowl feature thousands of signatures and drawings - memories of past TUTS performances.
Our celebrated outdoor venue also hosts a rotation of concerts, and has featured an impressive array of musical artists through the years.
6. We feature BIG talent on our stage.
For this year's production of Oliver! we've assembled some of Vancouver's finest musical theatre performers, including local theatre veteran Stephen Aberle (Fagin/Mr. Brownlow), Damon Calderwood (Bill Sykes/Mr. Bumble), Nolan Fahey (Charley Bates), Marie West (Nancy), and Carly Ronning starring as Oliver, to name just a few.
In Hairspray, the talented cast includes Ovation Award-winning actor Andy Toth, Erin Walker (Tracy Turnblad), Cecilly Day (Motormouth), Dustin Freeland (Link), Chris D. King (Corny Collins), Hannah Williams (Penny Pingleton), and Lori Zondag (Velma Von Tussle) among many more.
7. We provide opportunities for emerging theatre artists.
Our cast is a mix of both professional and community theatre actors. For recent theatre graduates looking to get their foot in the door, TUTS provides a welcoming environment at which to experience working with and learning from seasoned professionals.
Those interested in theatrical production can also be involved with our Rising Stars Mentorship Program, which provides practical experience for those looking to pursue a career in the theatre industry.
8. Our performances offer spectacular visuals.
With large, intricate sets, detailed costumes, and two casts of over 30 performers, TUTS performances are a visually stunning display, nestled in and amongst the towering Douglas Firs of Stanley Park.
9. Enjoy both dinner AND a show.
We offer a mouth-watering menu prior to performances, with selections including traditional hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled salmon, chicken skewers, and gourmet wraps.
Or, for those who wish to bring their own snacks, audience members are welcome to bring in a home-packed picnic dinner.
10. We offer musical theatre training for aspiring performers.
TUTS is a one-of-a-kind training ground for young musical theatre artists looking to further develop their skills. Through July and August, TUTS teaches children and youth ages 8 - 18 years to sing, dance, and act - all on the Malkin Bowl stage.
I love how theatre can enrich our lives. Please let me know how theatre enhances your life, I would love to hear from you.
Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to live life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2015!
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